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10 Relaxation Techniques for Kids
July 11, 2012 | in Babysitting Jobs
While it may seem unnatural for children to experience stress, many children actually do have high levels of stress. Children are worried about doing well in school, winning sports games, pleasing their parents and fitting in with their friends. As most adults know, living up to others expectations can be very stressful.
If you find your child is experiencing stress, here are some relaxation techniques that you can try with him.
- Deep breathing. The convenient thing about this technique is that it can be done at anytime, anywhere. Have your child close his eyes and take a deep breath in through his nose and fill his tummy with air. Do this step slowly and then blow the air out of his mouth all at once. Sometimes having him think about breathing in the good and blowing out the bad will also help to relax him.
- Visualization. Visualization can provide a vacation from the mind. The first couple of times you can help your child do this technique, and then after some practice she should be able to do it herself. Have her sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close her eyes. Ask her to picture herself in her favorite vacation spot. Is it on a boat or at the beach? Wherever it is help her intensify her visualization by asking her if she can feel the wind on her skin or the spray of the waves hitting her face. Then move on to her sense of smell and ask her if she can smell the sea water or the flowers nearby. Move on to her sense of hearing and ask her to listen for the sea gulls or the laughter of other children. Once you’ve made it through all of the senses let her stay in that visualization for a few minutes as she releases stress.
- Exercising. The freedom of running causes your body to release endorphins that flood your brain and make you feel better. Sometimes exercise can help clear his mind and reduce his stress levels. Making a habit of regularly exercising will help him learn to cope better with stress.
- Listening to calming music. Music can be naturally relaxing. The human body is an amazing thing, and often our moods will adapt to the type of music we’re listening to. If she listens to loud angry music she may begin to feel angry and stressed. If she listens to soft calming music it will lower her heart rate and drop her blood pressure. These things will help relax her overall and can even be used to help her fall asleep at night. If she’s using music as a sleep aid try to avoid music with lyrics or use the same one over and over so that she doesn’t listen to the words.
- Laughter. Laughter is one of the biggest stress relievers for both adults and kids alike. Read a joke book with him or take him to a really funny movie. Watch a comedy on TV. Tickle him. Anything to get him to laugh. The longer he laughs the more tension he will release.
- Meditation or prayer. Meditation or prayer is very relaxing. By removing herself from distractions and sitting or lying in a comfortable spot she can begin to meditate or pray. Meditation requires that she closes her eyes, clears her mind, and focuses on her breathing. Prayer can be done with her eyes closed, and as she is talking to God she can unload her burdens. Either method she chooses will have a relaxing effect on her.
- Massage. Massages will help kids relax. While this isn’t the time for a deep tissue rub down, a relaxing massage is done with soft hands and a tender touch. Gently squeeze the shoulders to release the tension that sits there. Rub his scalp and as it becomes looser any tension headache should ease. If no one is available to give him a massage have him rub his own feet. This self-massage will encourage blood flow and help manage stress.
- Release muscles. A muscle relaxation technique will help loosen tight muscles. Have her lay down on her back on the floor or bed. No pillow should be used during this exercise. Tell her to close her eyes and scrunch her toes as tight as she can and have her hold that for 20 seconds if she can and then relax her feet. Continue having her tense her calves and hold it for 20 seconds and then relax her calves. Moving muscle group by muscle group continue up the body to the head. Once she has scrunched her face and then relaxed tell her to imagine that she is a sponge and just let her lie like that for a while.
- Mindful walking. The mindful walking technique is an easy one to teach to kids. Start this technique by sitting down on the floor with your child. Have him close his eyes and concentrate on his breathing for a few minutes. As soon as he is calm have him stand up and start walking around the room. Have him concentrate on his feet. How they bend and how they touch the floor and roll off the floor. First one foot and then the other foot. Continue to walk mindfully for 10 minutes.
- Cuddling. Cuddling with a parent or pet will reduce stress. Just petting a pet can relieve stress and improve a person’s mood. It’s hard to be upset when a pet is cuddling with you, believes Richard Timmons DVM (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine). If you don’t have a pet then cuddling with a parent or caregiver can be just as soothing.
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